Gut Rumbles

January 26, 2005

i believe it

If this story isn't true, it ought to be:

Doing the Right Thing is seldom easy-but never too late....

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was his lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well Not only was the money big, but also Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block. Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had the best of everything: clothes, cars and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name and a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie
wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he would ever pay.

Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion and a poem clipped from a magazine. The poem read:

The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time.
For the clock may soon be still.

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold, a squadron of Japanese aircraft were speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.

There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.

Upon arrival he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had in fact destroyed five enemy aircraft. This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

So the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.

I don't want to run that one by Snopes. I like it just the way it is.


Had a hard time with California, it kept slipping of to the right for some reason.

Posted by: James Old Guy on January 26, 2005 02:12 PM

Even if it's a fable, it's one worth re-telling. Good one!!

Posted by: Vulgorilla on January 26, 2005 02:30 PM

Excuse me, I should never post comments while medicated.

Posted by: James Old Guy on January 26, 2005 02:36 PM

I don't know about the particulars, but yes, Butch O'Hare was mobster Eddie O'Hare's son.

Posted by: Mythilt on January 26, 2005 02:50 PM

Not true in its entirety, but close!

As usual, nice post, Rob!

Posted by: Daniel on January 26, 2005 03:00 PM


Posted by: BUCK on January 26, 2005 03:05 PM

Being a Damnyankee who grew up in the Chicagoland suburbs, I can vouch for your story. Yes he was indeed Easy Eddie's son. Outstanding post !

Posted by: Guy S. on January 26, 2005 04:52 PM

This would be worthy of Paul Harvey.  In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Paul already has it in his repetoire.

Posted by: Lord Spatula I, King & Tyrant on January 27, 2005 12:06 AM

Awesome story, but did they really have gun-mounted cameras on fighter planes in 1942?

Posted by: Eddie on January 27, 2005 01:09 AM

Really great stories.

Posted by: Kate on January 27, 2005 08:49 AM

Eddie, yes they did.

Have you never see the camera film in any of those WWII movies. Hollywood loved using gun camera footage in their movies because it was much mroe realistic and free to boot.

Posted by: MunDane on January 27, 2005 09:58 AM

O'Hare's MOH citation:


Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy. Born: 13 March 1914, St. Louis, Mo. Entered service at: St. Louis, Mo. Other Navy awards: Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross with 1 gold star. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in aerial combat, at grave risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, as section leader and pilot of Fighting Squadron 3 on 20 February 1942. Having lost the assistance of his teammates, Lt. O'Hare interposed his plane between his ship and an advancing enemy formation of 9 attacking twin-engine heavy bombers. Without hesitation, alone and unaided, he repeatedly attacked this enemy formation, at close range in the face of intense combined machinegun and cannon fire. Despite this concentrated opposition, Lt. O'Hare, by his gallant and courageous action, his extremely skillful marksmanship in making the most of every shot of his limited amount of ammunition, shot down 5 enemy bombers and severely damaged a sixth before they reached the bomb release point. As a result of his gallant action--one of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action in the history of combat aviation--he undoubtedly saved his carrier from serious damage.

Footnote: It's not, as commonly quoted, the "Congressional Medal of Honor". It's simply the Medal of designated by Congress & presented by the president of the United States. BTW, the Navy Cross is the 2nd highest military medal given for combat heroism. That O'Hare received BOTH medals is extraordinary.

Posted by: Hap Arnold on January 27, 2005 11:35 AM

What you posted matches up with the segment about Butch O'Hare which was presented on the "Legends Of Air Power" show on the Discovery Wings Channel.

Posted by: Mike James on January 28, 2005 04:04 AM

Many thanks for your post. I had heard the story before and wondered myself as to the facts about Lt. O'Hare's Pop. Gonna steal it from you and find some place to stick it on my blog.

Posted by: James Hooker on January 29, 2005 07:08 AM


This really is an interesting story. It is in fact true, although this email has been fluffed up a little bit. I ran it by for authenticity and sure enough O'Hare is Easy Eddies son and he was in fact awarded the Medal of Honor.

We must have received this email about the same time. I also blogged on this on 26 Jan 05.

Rob Slagle"Rock" Out!

Posted by: SlagleRock on January 29, 2005 12:42 PM
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